Danielle Dudtschak, Queen’s University, Canada

 

About Canada

Canada is an amazing country to live in. Everything about Canada is diverse from the food and people to the landscape and climate!

It’s extremely hard to describe Canadian culture because – despite being very westernized and English-speaking – we are called a diversity mosaic due to our abundance of historical and cultural pockets. Toronto is a great example of this with places like Chinatown, Little Italy, Greek-town, Little India, etc.

In Toronto, I recommend you visit places like Cabbagetown and Kensington Market during the day to see how the younger generations have repurposed the historic neighbourhoods. The only overarching cultural stereotype about Canadians is that we’re all very nice – and for the most part this is actually very true. While it’s important to note that not everyone follows this stereotype – the majority of Canadians are very friendly and polite. The most common word in the Canadian vocabulary is “sorry” and if you need directions simply ask someone who doesn’t look too busy.

Winters in Canada (and Kingston especially) are frigid. I like to joke that the winter bonds us together and that’s why we’re all so nice. While the snow and ice can seem intimidating – I encourage you to venture outside and embrace it (with a warm winter jacket and boots) because some of the best Canadian activities happen in the winter! It usually averages about -10 Celsius in the winter but occasionally hits the -20s and -30s, so be sure to dress warmly and check the weather app! Frostbite is a real thing! No matter how bad the weather gets – Canadians are notorious for not cancelling anything due to the cold.

Best parts about Canadian winters:

  • Tim Hortons (Food Chain) has amazing hot chocolate to keep warm
  • Tobogganing
  • Winter Sports – Hockey, Skiing or Snowboarding, Curling
  • We’re all nicer in the winter – like a big community

 

About Food

Food in Canada is extremely diverse, and you can usually find a restaurant for whatever you are in the mood for. Unlike Singapore, eating out is much more expensive than cooking your own food – grocery stores are much more affordable and common. Tax and tip are not included in Canada and the USA – tax is 13% and a normal tip is 10-15%. Hence, you will have to wait till the point of sale to see the final amount of the bill including tax or add in the tips yourself when eating in a restaurant!

When you are in Canada, you need to try:

  • Poutine (ESPECIALLY THIS)
  • Donair
  • Lays Ketchup Chips
  • Lays All Dressed Chips
  • Chipotle (food chain)
  • Burger Priest (food chain)
  • Tim Hortons (food chain).

Kingston has one of the highest restaurant-per-capita ratios in the whole country and the food is amazing! In Kingston (Close to Campus):

  • Donair – great place to get donair (and my personal favourite place for poutine)
  • Sima Sushi – best (north american) sushi in Kingston
  • Pit Pit – a personal favourite foodchain
  • Metro – good grocery store that has student discounts on certain days
  • MLTDWN – “melt down” has amazing grilled cheese sandwiches

 

About Transportation

Transportation in Canada is primarily driving but most cities also have public transport. To get between cities without a car, there are also coach busses and VIA trains.

Tip: I recommend following Narcity Toronto, Narcity Kingston, and BlogTO for current events and activities to do. There is always something going on and they are very up to date. BlogTO is also a great source for finding great places to eat – no matter what you’re looking for.

 

About School

Queen’s is awesome. The campus is beautiful and easy to navigate with downtown Kingston only a few minutes’ walk away. The business/commerce school at Queen’s is called Smith School of Business – and the student’s in the commerce program are some of the brightest in the country. The students in this program all work very hard and take their grades very seriously – so group projects are very important to us! Everyone I’ve met in the program is very nice though, and if you have any questions in class definitely reach out to a classmate for help.

Another great resource for classwork is the professors. Almost all professors are extremely helpful if you are prepared with questions or seek clarification. This is a great way to get to know your professors better. As the class sizes are so small, they will recognize you in class. Our professors are very supportive and want to see you succeed! Additionally, the Commerce Office is a real asset, and can help with almost anything – they’re on the first floor across from the washrooms so if you need help they are wonderful.

The commerce program always has events going on so be sure to join Facebook groups to say involved! Queen’s also has exchange orientation activities that is hosted through “NEWTS Orientation” a club on campus! Reach out to them on Facebook and they are always there if you need help!

NUS Bizad Club
NUS Bizad Club

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *